stuff, written by me

Monthly Archives: May 2012

DAY 8 (Friday May 25)

I wake up early enough to get to a 9:30am screening of Reality, an interesting Italian film about a man whose life is turned upside down as a result of his obsession with getting onto the still hugely popular (in Italy, at least) show Big Brother. I barely get enough time for a sandwich between this and the screening of David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, so I’m pretty sleepy and out of it by the time I sit down in the theatre. The film is odd even for Cronenberg, and will I think be a hard sell for a lot of people, but in spite of my constant battle with exhaustion I end up really enjoying it.

After Cosmopolis, I race down to a restaurant on the beach for lunch with some friends – a mix of journalists and film programmers. Of course, we talk about the films we’ve seen, but everyone also remarks on the fact that this is the first actual lunch break they’ve taken since arriving. An important lesson to learn about Cannes: it’s all go, go, go. Nobody takes breaks until quite late, when all the business that can possibly be done has been squeezed out of the day.

If you leave your apartment or hotel room in the morning thinking “I’ll pop back in here later between meetings to grab my coat for the evening”, you’ll likely end up cold and coat-less later. The breaks that seem possible when you look at your schedule just never seem to materialize. Meetings run late, walking from one location to another takes twice as long as anticipated because the streets are so insanely crowded, you end up running into people you know on some random corner and stopping to chat, and before you know it, that half hour “break” during which you were going to change and dump your bag at home is gone. Better to leave the house with everything you could possibly need. Treat the festival like a survivalist mission, basically. This is why nobody ends up eating lunch. It just takes too long.

The other thing about meals in Cannes is that they all happen really late. It’s a European thing, I guess, but most dinners don’t start until 9 or 10pm, so if you didn’t get lunch either, then you really have to get creative about grabbing street food whenever you can, to keep yourself sane. Lots of people swear by the various kebab joints around town. I’m not sure if the Lebanese food in LA is terrible (in comparison to the amazing restaurants all over Toronto) but I’ve never seen so many people rave about shawarma.

In the evening, I end up seeing my favourite film of the fest, Leos Carax’s confounding and delightful Holy Motors. When I first arrive at the cinema, I see a bunch of people looking confused and angry and huddled around a sign that proclaims Holy Motors has been cancelled in favour of a screening of George Lucas’ WWII flying ace film Red Tails. This seems like a cruel joke (or, seriously, just someone’s idea of an actual joke) but it seems that Red Tails was originally scheduled to be played on the beach, but threats of rain have forced organizers to move it, as Lucas is in town, and they can’t just cancel his appearance. I wonder if anyone cares that Leos Carax is also in town and might be annoyed that his film was being bumped, but before I have a chance to fully hatch my plan to burn the entire city of Cannes to the ground, we’re told that it’s not going to rain after all, and Holy Motors is back on. Sometimes, the rollercoaster of emotion is just too much!

The film is brilliant, and an exuberant group of us decide to celebrate our good post-movie moods by going to the American Pavilion, which has thrown its doors open for a ‘queer party’ DJ’d by Lee Daniels (whose Paperboy I failed to see in Cannes). The music is ok, but the beers are 5 Euros, so Colin and I decide to hike up the hill for a nightcap at the castle. After all, if you have a pass to the party castle, you’ve gotta use it more than once, right?

A lesson I’d like to learn for the next time I go to Cannes, however, is that going to sleep early at least half the time can really save your ass. There’s nothing quite as frustrating or potentially embarrassing as falling asleep in a film you were really looking forward to or blanking out on what you were going to say in a meeting because you’re just so sleep deprived and running on pure adrenaline.

It’s a marathon, not a 100 meter dash, I keep having to tell myself.

DAY 9 (Saturday May 26)

This morning starts with what is hands down the most heartwarming film I will see all year, a beautiful animated film called Ernest and Celestine, from the Belgian filmmakers behind the wacky A Town Called Panic, which played TIFF a few years back. Ernest and Celestine is much more kid-appropriate, a love story between a bear and a mouse in a world in which mice and bears hate and fear each other.

I then race off to see Mud, by Jeff Nichols. By this point in the fest, tickets to the red carpet screenings have become quite a bit easier to get, because so many people have gone home. The film market lasted until the 25 th (yesterday) but many vendors started wrapping up a couple of days earlier than that. For those who can’t afford to take a luxurious 10 day trip to the south of France, the first few days are crucial, the rest not.

I loved Take Shelter, but I’m worried that I won’t be able to stay awake during the over-two- hour running time of Mud, because I still haven’t quite caught up with my sleep. Fortunately, I’m immediately captivated by it and love every second.

For our final real night in Cannes with pals, Colin has organized an excursion to a rum bar called Coco Loco, which has a ‘happy hour’ (it lasts four hours and is quite deadly, actually) during which an unlimited flow of piña coladas, planter’s punch and daiquiris descend upon our large and rowdy table until everyone is totally incapacitated and I miss the evening screening I was intending to catch.

Instead, we stumble to the fascinating Cannes Cinema Club where IFC is hosting a party. The building is full of secret rooms, and we end up spending nearly half an hour in an office behind a bookshelf in which we end up taking turns sitting at the desk and carrying out fake conversations on a rotary phone.

After such a party, the midnight screening of Maniac isn’t quite what anyone is in the mood for, but Colin and I brave it anyway, before falling into a deep sleep that lasts all of Sunday – we get up only to have lunch and dinner, going back to bed in between. I wake up on Monday morning after sleeping for about 24 out of the previous 30 hours and feel totally ready to pack and hop on a train. It sure takes its toll, this festival.


DAY 5 (Tuesday May 22)

The meetings here are quite endless. Everyone schedules them into half-hour blocks, but everyone always takes longer than 30 minutes and doesn’t account for travel time, so it’s kind of amazing that anything really gets done. To be fair, travel time is only an issue if you’re going form the Palais (where most of the sales booths are) to one of the major hotels, but still. I marvel at how people manage schedules this hectic.

I accompany Colin to a few of his meetings because I’m fascinated by how it all works, but it definitely makes me realize that it can be quite hard to actually see any movies here. It’s so hectic, stepping away from the business side of things for a whole 90 minutes seems very indulgent, perhaps even irresponsible.

At some point, we branch off and he continues to meet various people while I wander the market. Later, when we get five minutes of alone time, I tell him excitedly that I saw a horror film by accident that I was apparently not supposed to be allowed into earlier that day. The producers were quite vocal about not allowing in any North Americans (something to do with their sales & distro strategy, but they obviously weren’t checking badges too carefully).

Tonight, we have no films planned, because it’s the night of the much-anticipated and much-beloved Fantastic Fest / Fantasia Karaoke party, an annual event in Cannes and also at the Berlin film fest in February. The Austin and Montreal based festivals team up to organize an insane, always-packed karaoke party.

This year, it’s hosted at the Station Tavern, where I found myself just the night before.

I don’t sing karaoke, but I go because I know it’ll be my only chance to see certain people – friends and colleagues from the US who are members of the whole ‘fantastic film festival’ community, especially. It’s kind of amazing how much business actually takes place at parties in this town. I’m not expecting a big networking schmooze out of this party (it’ll be more of a chance for everyone to let their hair down and relax) but it is quite important to realize just how important socializing is to the Cannes experience. I do not envy any serious introverts who find themselves here, that’s for sure.

On a sidenote, I’m not sure why all these film types are so obsessed with karaoke, but it’s a huge thing. Film people. They love it. Go figure.

Unless you’re at a private party that can serve liquor as long as they feel like it, the city of Cannes is quite strict about their last call policy. Usually, last call is announced a few minutes after 2:00am, but instead of giving patrons a lazy hour to finish up their last drinks, here they shut things down by 2:15, no exceptions. The party ends abruptly, but I’m quite happy to just go to bed. I catch Fantastic Fest / Alamo Drafthouse founder / party host Tim League just before leaving and am told that he’s going for clown-shaped ice cream sundaes. I admire that, but decide not to follow in his footsteps.

DAY 6 (Wednesday May 23)

After last night’s karaoke mayhem, I manage to nonetheless make it to my midday meeting with an awesome woman from a cool distribution company. She’s looking for scouts to bring interesting projects to her, and I’m interested in maybe doing that type of consulting work. We talk a lot about our favourite films and at the end of the meeting, she decides to name her two new kittens after two young German filmmakers who I’m working with and who she’s meeting with later in the day (Norbert and Felix, they’re perfect cat names, no?).

I’ve had a writing deadline looming over my head for about two weeks (unrelated to Cannes, I was supposed to hand a short story in to an editor for inclusion in an anthology before leaving for France, but I didn’t get it edited in time. I’ve hardly had time while I’ve been here to make sure I eat at least one proper meal per day, let alone spend time writing, so today I decide to ditch my exciting film plans. I had intended to catch repeat screenings of the competition film Rust & Bone as well as a screening of a coming of age romance called Fondi ‘91 in the market. It was directed by an old university friend of mine, and I’m super proud of him and excited to see it. However, my sense of impending doom regarding my overdue assignment wins, and I head back to the apartment, where I promptly fall asleep for two hours (I needed it) and then finish all the edits on my story. Triumph!

In the evening, I get to celebrate this success by having dinner with a few friends (pizza, are you surprised?) and then catching the premiere screening of Ben Wheatley’s new film, Sightseers, in the Director’s Fortnight section of the fest. The film is amazingly funny and smart, which makes me very happy, since Ioved his previous effort (Kill List, which played TIFF last year). After the film, we decide to try out our fancy “castle passes” with a couple of friends and head up the rather steep hill to the castle, where on this particular night Wild Bunch is hosting a party for the anthology film 7 Days in Havana.

Gaspar Noé (Irreversible, Enter the Void) is one of the directors, as is Benicio Del Toro (who knew he was a director). At the door of the castle, we see two lines, and the friends convince me to ask the somewhat scary looking security guys which line we should stand in with our passes, because I am ‘a girl’ (to be fair, though, I wasn’t the only girl in the group, I think this was just a fun game that they were playing – I also got the task of ordering drinks from neglectful bartenders a few times for the same reason). As it turns out, our passes get us through the VIP line, and pretty soon we’re in an idyllic courtyard full of make-your- own-mojito stations. We do, and then take a tour of the absolutely labyrinthine castle, which has multiple party levels, several terraces, and a rooftop with a great view of the city.

The Wild Bunch parties famously start at midnight and don’t really shut down until 7:00am. We arrive with the intention of sticking around briefly, just to “see what it looks like”. Three drinks later, our friends decide to go to bed, but Colin and I stay for a nightcap. Of course, by this point the castle has filled up quite a bit and there are more people there who we recognize and want to chat with.

Our nightcap turns into three or four rounds of alternating mojitos and gin & tonics until I suddenly realize, to my horror and delight, that the sun is starting to come up. While I did see and say hello to Gaspar Noé there (more accurately, Colin said hello and introduced me as his new wife, to which Gaspar responded “you made a good choice with him”), there weren’t many other celeb sightings to report. That is, unless you count the time when Benicio Del Toro’s bodyguard butted in front of Colin in the bathroom line so that Benicio could go next.

Hilarious!

We stumble home (via a 24 hour bakery, for some ham pastries) after 5:00am and fall immediately asleep. Tomorrow will be a mess, but it was worth it to be able to say “I partied all night in a castle”.

DAY 7 (Thursday May 24)

After last night’s castle adventure, waking up early enough to make my ambitious screening plans happen was difficult. By which I mean “it did not happen at all”. I slept in until about 12:30, then dragged myself out of bed just in time to buy a chevre & avocado sandwich at the local bakery (sidenote: the “chevre” they serve in sandwiches here is basically goat brie, and it is mindblowing) and catch one of the re-screenings of Ken Loach’s The Angels’ Share. The festival always repeats official titles for film market badge holders during the last couple of days of the fest, but even though the market is packing up and many people have left town, the screening rooms were packed for all the hot titles. It is kind of nice to see all these bleary eyed people who’ve clearly spent the past week in a 5×10’ booth actually get out to see some quality cinema. Take a break, guys! Everyone works excessively long hours in this town!

The film was a perfect marriage between “depressing as hell working class Ken Loach” and “brilliantly uplifting triumph of the human spirit” Ken Loach. Probably the feel good film of this year’s official selection, though I haven’t seen Madagascar 3 (which is also in the fest if you can believe it, though out of competition).

After the Loach I’m feeling good enough to get right back into the line to see John Hillcoat’s Lawless. It was written by Nick Cave. It stars Tom Hardy. It’s about prohibition. How can you go wrong with any combination of these elements? As it turns out, you can only by making your film a bit too long. Otherwise, a very well done but quite traditional Hollywood drama. I expect it’ll do well come awards season.

I decide to skip a third screening because nothing in that time slot is on my “must see” list and join Colin for cocktails on the terrace of the Hotel Majestic (at the offices of a film company that he’s meeting with). Their terrace overlooks the front of the hotel, where a very dolled-up crowd is heading out to the red carpet of Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy. The crowds are mental on all sides of the barricades, mostly locals and press, but some industry types as well, lined up to see the stars go up the red carpet. I, on the other hand, are heading out to meet with some young German directors who want help with a project their working on, followed by a BBQ dinner at the apartment of Australian director Jon Hewitt (he made Acolytes, which played a few years ago in Midnight Madness at TIFF and was one of my faves of that year). His wild Aussie BBQs are an annual tradition in Cannes, and the food (lamb, pork, merguez sausages and infinite other snackables) really delivers. The fridge is so full of rosé you couldn’t possibly wedge in another bottle.

After the BBQ we descend on the Petit Majestic, a small bar in a back alley behind the Grand hotel. Here’s how the hierarchy of late night drinking works in Cannes. If you’re not out at a specific party or reception and you just want to have a mellow drink and hopefully run into a lot of people you know, you have two options. The high rent option is the large, opulent terrace of the Grand, where dozens of inflatable couches (as well as tables & chairs) litter the lawn.

If your pocketbook can’t quite stand Grand prices, you can walk around the hotel into the back alley, where the Petit Majestic is situated. The bar is too small to contain the number of people who want to drink in the tiny corner bar, so the crowds spill out onto the intersection, filling almost an entire block. The bar usually sets up an outdoor beer station where a guy with a keg serves plastic cups for a few Euros.

Our strategy has mostly been to cruise through the Grand & say hello to people, then land at the Petit for cheap drinks with friends, because back alley dive bar drinking is, I guess, more our speed? Every festival programmer, screenwriter, not-yet- famous director is there. Every night. Unfortunately after last night’s Castle Adventure, I’m way too wiped out to stay late, so after a couple of beers, I duck out for some serious rest. Tomorrow’s ambitious plan is to catch both Cronenberg films and the Cosmopolis party (eeeeeeee!!), so I need my beauty sleep.


Day 3 (Sunday May 20)

The gale-force winds and torrential downpours have continued now pretty much since I arrived, and everyone’s saying it’ll be at least Tuesday before we see a sunny day again, so I’ve resigned myself to being cold and wet all the time. I didn’t really pack a jacket because this is the south of France. As it turns out, it’s a good ten degrees cooler and infinitely more miserable here than it is in Toronto right now.

I start my day by waking up at the crack of dawn (ok, 8:00am) in order to try to get a ticket for tonight’s red carpet gala, Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt. I first encountered the Danish director’s work when TIFF played The Celebration (Festen) in 1998, which is in my opinion easily one of the best films of the 1990s. This is his best film since.

The ticketing system works based on points, and also seniority. Everyone starts out with a certain number of points, based on how long they’ve been attending the festival. A first timer might start out with 100 or so, while someone who’s been coming for a few years has several hundred. From the moment you arrive in Cannes and sign in at the registration desk, you accrue more points (two per hour, up to whatever your personal cap is).

These points can be traded in for hard tickets to the competition films. A gala red carpet screening between 7:00pm to 10:30pm (prime time) costs 100 points. An 8:30am screening might only cost 20. Once you use up your points, you have to wait for them to build up again before you can order more tickets. The window of time for ticket ordering opens up for different people at different times. For example, my husband, a 12 year veteran of the fest, can pick up gala tickets for tomorrow night right now. I have to wait until tomorrow at 8:00am to make my attempt, and hope that it’s not sold out yet.

And one final hitch. Tickets are connected to your pass and are scanned at the door, so the festival knows whether your ticket was used or not. If you get a ticket and don’t end up using it, you’re penalized. Your points plummet and you’re out of luck for any more tickets for a couple of days.

Complicated, right? Anyway, this time, I succeeded. I reserved my ticket for The Hunt and headed to the market to catch some horror films with a friend. Since the main purpose of the market is to help films get bought and sold, these screenings don’t count as “world premieres” and press aren’t supposed to write about them (indeed, the press are sometimes banned from market screenings altogether, and buyers are often given priority over other audience types).

I waltz into an American horror flick called The Collection and only later find out that it was an ‘invite only’ screening to which I should not have gained entry. The producer even comes out before it begins to ask everyone to refrain from talking about the film publicly after the screening. Fair enough. I won’t tell you a thing about it.

There’s something about the vibe of Cannes that makes me feel like I’m a few steps behind, constantly. There’s just so much to see and do, so many national pavilions hosting happy hours, so many market screenings, so many meetings and dinners and parties to attend that it can be a bit overwhelming. There are thousands of people on the streets constantly, and everyone is always rushing.

Even though I have a pretty light day, I still feel a bit harried when I race back to the apartment to change into a formal dress before The Hunt. A black tie dress code is strictly enforced at all red carpet screenings in the evening. No need to pull out the tux at noon, but if you show up at 7:00pm without a bow tie, you will be turned away, ticket or no ticket.

Waiting in the rain under a tiny umbrella for an hour in a wispy formal dress is a pretty miserable experience. I was completely soaked when I finally got to my seat in the second-to- last row of the balcony, but the enormous screen and excellent sound system in the Lumière pretty much guarantee that there are no bad seats (which is incredible, because there are 2300 of them). The Hunt, for the record, is one of the best films I’ve seen in years. Mads Mikkelsen (who’s so badass in films like Casino Royale, Valhalla Rising and Pusher) puts in a career-defining performance as an ordinary guy whose life is turned upside down because of a child’s impulsive lie. So, I guess it was worth that hour spent in the rain?

I end the night at Cannes’ only dive bar, a place called the Station Tavern (it’s near the train station, hence the name, and it’s a regular pub, with actual beers on tap, which is pretty rare in this land of wine and … more wine). Sometimes, it’s nice to be able to go someplace that reminds you of home.

Day 4 (Monday May 21)

Today’s highlight is an event called “Master and Son”, a panel discussion between David and Brandon Cronenberg, both of whom have films playing in the festival, and moderated by TIFF’s own Cameron Bailey. I recently wrote an article for Toronto Film Scene about the early films of David Cronenberg and a publicist emailed me as a result, asking if I’d like to attend the discussion in Cannes (she’s a friend-of- a-friend and she already knew I was going to Cannes, but still).

I’ve now officially missed four chances to see Antiviral (unlike the competition screenings, films in sidebars like Un Certain Regard don’t have hard tickets, so you have to line up for hours to secure a seat) because it’s been a madhouse. Cosmopolis doesn’t screen until the festival’s final weekend, and I could not be more excited.

While David Cronenberg is funny, charming and totally at ease in front of a crowd, his son Brandon fidgets & is visibly uncomfortable with the amount of attention he’s getting. Once could almost see the two as a before and after image of the same introverted man, who’s simply gotten used to the spotlight after 40 years of living in it. The best moments coming from Cronenberg Sr, who tells one reporter (who wanted to know about the obsessions and inner demons that drive him to make the kinds of films he makes), “It’s a joy. No matter how scary a movie might be it’s a real joy in creating something, a playfulness. It’s not demons. I have no demons. Zero.”

He also talks a lot about Toronto, and about the importance to him of not moving to LA because he wanted to live somewhere where movies aren’t the ‘only thing’. He contrasts his choice with that of his friend and fellow Canadian Ivan Reitman (and his son, director Jason Reitman). And while there’s no judgment in his words or tone, it’s clear that he’s happy to not have “LA kids”, as he refers to the children of his colleagues in Hollywood.

After the Cronenberg experience, I attend another few horror screenings in the market. Only one is worth mentioning – a highly enjoyable supernatural killer clown comedy from Ireland called Stitches. I laughed throughout.

In the evening, we attend a fancy dinner at one of the town’s better (or at least more famous and chichi) pizza places, La Pizza (seriously, what is it with this town and pizza?), then attempt to stop in at a couple of cocktail parties before going to see Takashi Miike’s For Love’s Sake (Ai To Makoto). It’s a sort of action / romance / musical (the songs are really catchy, the fights well choreographed). Unfortunately, the film is over two hours long and starts at 12:30, so by the midway point, I find myself dozing off. All this “getting up at 8:00am, running around until midnight” stuff is getting to me. And enjoyable though the Miike film totally is, I’m not sure the Cannes programmers understand the concept of a ‘midnight film’ very well. Their selections aren’t exactly designed to perk people up and keep them awake at the end of a long day.


Day 1 (Friday May 18)

I arrived in Cannes on Friday afternoon, a couple of days after the festival’s opening on Wednesday night. I’d already missed a couple of the big films, like Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, and the much talked about  Rust and Bone.

Cannes is too small a town to have its own major airport, so festival goers have to fly to Nice and take a bus in. The bus only takes about 45 minutes and drops you right in the centre of the action – a block or two away from the Palais des Festivals, the enormous convention centre that hosts the Marché du Film (or film market) as well as housing a number of cinemas (seriously, there are at least 20 screening rooms in the Palais complex, including the astonishing 2300 seat Grand Théâtre Lumière).

Behind the Palais are a series of white tents along the beach – these makeshift structures are the international pavilions. Pretty much every country’s got one. Some nations are quite friendly, and open their pavilions up for daily cocktails to anyone who cares to check out their nation’s film industry. Others are quite exclusive and even charge admission (the Americans).

On my first day (the festival’s third) I try to outrun my travel exhaustion by immediately going to a party that will make me feel right at home. The annual TIFF / OMDC co-hosted event takes place on a beautiful terrace overlooking the beach, and is intended to be a welcome reception for members of the Canadian film industry (with an emphasis on Ontario) – but of course, there’s a motley crew of international guests there as well.

It’s been pouring rain all day (the winds are especially wicked in Cannes) but it clears up nicely just in time for the reception. In another corner of the room, people are buzzing around Brandon Cronenberg (whose debut feature, Antiviral, premieres here as part of the Un Certain Regard selection). Rue Morgue Magazine founder Rod Gudiño is also here – his debut feature, The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh is screening in the market.

I settle into a glass of rosé and tell myself that there’s no such thing as jetlag.

Later in the evening, my husband (TIFF programmer Colin Geddes, who is here for work, and a 12-ish year veteran of the fest) takes me to a Scandinavian party, on the terrace of one of the festival’s larger and more glamorous hotels, but the lack of food and sleep I’ve had all day gets to me, so we duck out for a quiet italian dinner on one of the city’s many restaurant-littered side streets. Cannes is obsessed with pizza. You can’t spit in this town without hitting a traditional Neopolitan pizzeria (for a Toronto comparison, think Pizza Libretto quality, but as ubiquitous as Pizza Pizza). It’s weird, but I like it. A bacon and potato covered “white pizza” is the perfect pre-bed snack, right?

Day 2 (Saturday May 19)

My second day here is the fourth day of the festival, and it seems like a lot of the busier attendees are already hitting a wall. Bleary eyed sales agents stumble through the streets and people are noticeably nodding off during movies. I kick off my Cannes experience by watching three horror films in the market. There’s nothing quite like going to one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world and immediately overdosing on really trashy cinema. I’ll catch up with some of the official titles soon, but I’m not quite ready to get myself entangled in the complex ticket ordering system.

I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence that two of the three films I happened to pick to watch today involve scary and terrible things happening to people who are camping. Perhaps I’m seeing the first signs of a hot new trend in horror?

Since Colin is here to work (and it’s one of the most hectic and crucial weeks in his TIFF-programming year, I leave him to his non-stop meetings in the market while I wander around and explore for myself. In addition to the seemingly endless number of screening rooms in the Palais building, the city of Cannes also boasts the Olympia, the Arcades and the Star cinemas all within a few blocks of each other (all have multiple screening rooms). One of the bigger hotels, the Gray D’Albion, also has several screening rooms on the mezzanine level. Every single one of these spaces is booked for screenings during the entire run of the market. The “pocket guide” to the Marché du Film is a whopping 215 pages of schedules, film descriptions and of course some ads. You can only imagine just how many finished films from around the world people are trying to buy and sell here. And that doesn’t even begin to take into account the films that people are pitching, and trying to get produced. For a festival that has a relatively small number of officially selected titles, the all-business underbelly of the fest is staggeringly huge.

In the evening, I manage to snag a ticket to the Grand Theatre Lumière screening of Dario Argento’s Dracula 3D. The film is one of nine films selected out of competition, and one of only three selected to play as ‘midnight screenings’, though the actual start time is 12:30. By 2:00am, the film is almost over, but my patience with it has worn so thin that I slip out the back. Since I didn’t finish watching it, you won’t be reading a review from me, but the stilted dialogue and stale take on the story that I sat through for about an hour felt like it was made by a student who picked up a Cole’s Notes version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and decided to clumsily adapt it to the screen without so much as a passing awareness of the fact that any other vampire film had ever been made in the history of cinema. Baffling. I decide my time will be better spent going to bed so that I can wake up for a very big day of screenings, meetings, and my very first red carpet (for Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt, one of my most anticipated titles in competition this year).